In Texas, gun ownership is deeply ingrained in our culture. Still, for those facing gun charges, the implications can be severe and long-lasting. Gun laws are complex, and navigating a firearm possession charge requires a nuanced understanding of the legal landscape.
Turnbull Legal Group discusses some of the most important gun laws and explains what you need to know if you find yourself facing a firearm possession or other gun charge in Texas.
Texas is known for its deeply rooted gun culture, but there are still many specific laws governing firearm possession and use. Understanding these laws is crucial to navigating the criminal justice system and crafting a defense against a gun charge.
The U.S. Constitution protects your right to “bear arms,” but states also have the ability to enact laws in the interest of public safety. To legally own a firearm, individuals must meet eligibility criteria, including age restrictions and compliance with federal regulations. However, Texas law delineates various offenses related to unlawful possession, such as carrying a concealed weapon without a permit or having a gun in a prohibited location.
Texas law identifies various gun-related offenses, each carrying distinct legal implications. Understanding what these offenses mean is helpful, as the specific charge will form the basis for a strategic defense against criminal allegations. Keep in mind that gun charges may be classified as either misdemeanors or felonies.
Here are some of the most common gun charges people face:
- Unlawful Possession: Involves those who are ineligible to own a firearm due to eligibility criteria.
- Possession of a Firearm by a Felon: If you’ve been convicted of a felony in the past, you can’t legally own or possess a gun for at least five years after being released from jail or prison.
- Unlawful Carry: Involves carrying a handgun without a license.
- Possession in Prohibited Places: Having a firearm (or other weapon) in a restricted area, such as a school, bar, or government building.
- Improperly Discharging a Gun: Firing a gun in an inappropriate or unsafe environment.
- Improperly Brandishing a Gun: Showing a gun in a threatening or intimidating manner, such as in a road rage incident (not in self-defense).
- Committing Another Crime with a Gun: If you possess or use a gun during the commission of another crime, it could lead to additional or enhanced charges.
The repercussions of gun charges in Texas are substantial, ranging from fines to lengthy prison sentences. Misdemeanor offenses may lead to fines and potential incarceration, while felony convictions carry severe consequences, including significant prison terms and limitations on future firearm ownership. The severity of penalties depends on the specific charge, prior criminal history, and the circumstances of the alleged offense.
Having a skilled criminal defense attorney is crucial because of the complexities surrounding gun charges and sentencing. Your defense lawyer will examine the specifics of your case and work to defend against frivolous charges and minimize the impact on your future.
Building a defense against gun charges requires a strategic approach. First and foremost, it’s imperative to examine the circumstances surrounding the arrest. Often, there are instances of rights violations or illegal search and seizure. In addition, it’s essential to establish a solid alibi and review eyewitness testimony for inconsistencies or disputed facts.
Your attorney may use expert witnesses, such as firearms specialists or forensic analysts, to challenge the prosecution’s case. Additionally, it’s essential to scrutinize the chain of custody in firearms cases.
Like in any criminal case, the prosecution must prove – beyond a reasonable doubt – that you are guilty of the alleged act. Your attorney will look for opportunities to demonstrate a lack of evidence to prove your guilt. Alternatively, depending on the circumstances, they may present evidence that you were acting in self-defense.
If you’re facing gun charges in Texas, it’s crucial to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Led by a Former Chief District Court Judge and Chief Prosecutor, Turnbull Legal Group has unmatched knowledge and experience in defending firearm possession and other gun charge cases.
If you’re facing allegations, trust our seasoned team to help you navigate the complexities and advocate for your rights. We assign two attorneys to every case we handle, ensuring you get the best representation possible. Contact Turnbull Legal Group today to defend your rights and protect your future.